Working her way to Ironman: Interview with MooMotion Ambassador Stephanie G.

 

steph

Stephanie ran her first race in 2009 and was hooked. After completing several marathons she took the leap toward triathlons in 2012. She has since completed several races including two 70.3 distances and will be racing her first Ironman in 2015. She attacks training and racing with enthusiasm, determination, and rocks a MooMotion kit like it’s nobody’s business! Follow along with her journey to Ironman – https://stephaniegranlundblog.wordpress.com/

How did you get into triathlon? Why Ironman?

I took a fairly common path into triathlon. I was a recreational runner for a few years and had finished a couple of marathons and I was looking for my next challenge. After a few years in triathlon, I decided to step up to 140.6 because, in my mind at least, that really is the ultimate endurance test. I’m not very fast, but I can still accomplish big things in the sport by pushing myself to keep going over long distances.

What is the most daunting part of the road leading up to Ironman? What do you think will be the easiest part?

I think time-management is going to be tough. There are obviously a lot of training hours involved, but, in addition to that, there are lots of other tasks that really add up time-wise. For example, you have the time to get ready for a workout (packing your swim bag and driving to the pool, planning your bike route, bike maintenance, etc.); foam rolling and showering after your workout; making sure to take care of fueling and recovery; ART appointments; etc. All of these additional things need to be planned for because they are just as important as the workout itself. Together, all of these small tasks add up to a lot of time.

The easiest part – and maybe the only easy part – is going to be picking out my race kit! Even though the race isn’t until the end of September, I’ve already decided I’m wearing the new Lime/Indigo Fulton Jersey and Revolution Shorts for the race. Growing up, I always planned my first day of school outfit months in advance, so I suppose some things never change!

Give us an idea of your training plan now and the next few months.

Generally, I swim 3-4 times per week. For cycling, I usually do a couple of shorter rides during the week and one longer weekend ride. For runs, I do a mix of road and treadmill runs throughout the week, with some speed work. I do a lot of two-a-days to fit it all in. I do have rest days, too, which are important for me both physically and mentally. Right now, I’m gearing up for the Challenge Atlantic City half at the end of June. After that, I’ll keep building up mileage leading into Ironman Chattanooga. I anticipate spending more and more time on the bike on the weekends and I’m sure that will be difficult, but as of now, long rides are my favorite workouts. I really enjoy being outside and appreciate the alone time.

Do you cross-train and if so, what are your favorite activities? How does recovery time fit into your training and what do you do?

Right now, my cross-training love is TRX. I take class as often as I can – usually once or twice per week – at a local studio, Machine M3. TRX makes me feel stronger and that is a benefit not only physically, but also mentally because it builds my confidence.

Recovery time is always challenging. I’m lucky enough that I have some flexibility in my work schedule now, so that helps a lot. I can make sure to give myself time to eat properly after a workout, for example. After long efforts on the weekends, I love taking naps, if my work schedule allows. I also make regular appointments at Grove Spine & Sports Care for ART (active release technique) and that helps a lot with injury prevention and treatment. As athletes, we put our bodies through so much with training and racing and it’s important we take care of them in return.

You did you very first triathlon in 2012. What was the hardest part about the sport when you first started vs. what’s the hardest part now?

It is still the swim! My husband jokes that I only swim so that I can bike and run and that’s probably accurate. I think it’s harder for those of us who learn proper swim technique as adults to feel comfortable in the water. And, then, of course, there is the open water, which adds its own challenges. I’ll get it one day!

What are your go-to products for training/racing?

I cannot say enough about the MooMotion Revolution Shorts. I’m sure my social media followers are tired of hearing me rave about them, but they really are that fabulous! They are hands down the most comfortable cycling/tri shorts I’ve ever owned.

With it being cooler outside this spring, I’ve been wearing the Cadence Cycling Capris a lot. They provide more coverage than shorts, but aren’t too hot and don’t restrict my motion in any way. The Versa Long Sleeve Jersey is also a favorite when it’s a bit chilly outside.

In terms of other products, I’m running in Hoka Cliftons right now and I really like the extra cushion. I thought it would be difficult to get used to them, but I felt comfortable in them right away. I think as my running mileage increases leading into the IM, I’m going to appreciate the extra cushion even more (because, of course, I want to get to the start line healthy and injury-free).

I use Assos Chamois Creme on the bike (which I discovered through the MooMotion Pinterest page). Assos is great for racing because you can apply it before the swim and it will stay on for the bike.

Finally, I always wear a Road ID. You never know what can happen when you’re out training or racing and it gives me peace of mind to know that if something happens, my family’s contact information is easily accessible. I do the vast majority of my training by myself, so this is especially important.

What’s your favorite training/racing fuel? Any guilty food pleasures?

I recently discovered Bobo’s Oat Bars and those are great during long training rides. They are very satisfying and keep me from feeling hungry. They also come in a lot of flavors, so you don’t get sick of eating the same thing over and over again.

I use a lot of Vega products as well, particularly for recovery.

I have a lot of guilty food pleasures, but lately a big one has been chips and guacamole! Avocados have lots of healthy fats and the salt is an electrolyte, right?

Any advice for someone who wants to get into the sport?

Patience is something I am still working on, but I think that’s a big one. When you are working on three sports at once, it takes longer to see improvements. After a tough race recently, a friend of mine said something like “you’re getting better, even if the numbers on the clock don’t show it” and that really stuck with me. The gains are there, they just haven’t revealed themselves yet.

I would also say start with a sprint and just have fun! I did a sprint as my first race and had a blast. I’m smiling ear-to-ear in all of my pictures from that race.